Mayhem Fest’s 26-day summer sprawl of metal is coming to Dallas’ Gexa Energy Pavillion with almost two dozen acts this year on August 4. On this last day of its sixth annual arrival, it may be difficult to decide on the best acts to see, but it would be my honor to direct you to some that stand out to me.
Six bands you won’t want to miss at Mayhem Fest 2013:
One of my favorite metal bands to date, Mastodon presents an interesting brand of progressive metal. Most of the songs from their setlist this year will presumably be off of their newest album The Hunter, which received a number of “Best Album” awards in 2011. “Curl of the Burl” (above) and “Creature Lives” are both great examples of the unique Mastodon sound.
RiYL: Gojira, The Sword, Devin Townsend Project
When death metal and folk metal love each other very much, something beautiful happens: Viking metal. Amon Amarth is one of the pioneers of this subgenre and (although they hate the label) are pretty good at blending the death metal sound with the Viking lyrical influence. Plus, their music videos have a lot of swords and swords are super cool.
RiYL: Finntroll, Ensiferum, Týr (to a lesser extent)
This band is totally new to me, but I’m loving them! Hard rock/heavy metal band from Austin, Scorpion Child has a sound reminiscent of 70’s psychedelic rock – right down to their bluesy vocals. Their self-titled debut album was released last month and immediately appeared on the Billboard charts.
RiYL: Black Star Riders, early Led Zeppelin, early Rush
Women so infrequently front metal bands, and those that do are rarely involved with trash or death metal. This is not the case with Jill Janus of Huntress. Her wailing vocals make her right at home in front of the aggressive guitar and drum work that often accompanies this genre. The occult influence in their music adds to the aesthetic and they also have swords.
RiYL: Holy Grail, Dawnbringer, A Sound of Thunder
Attika 7 fuses darker lyrics and deeper notes with traditional hard rock guitar riffs. Like Scorpion Child and Ghost (B.C.), Attika 7 blurs the lines between rock and metal, but doesn’t attempt to define themselves either way – they just play good music and let someone else suss out what it’s supposed to be called.
RiYL: Cycle of Pain, Downspirit, As You Were
Like Michael Jackson, Klaus Nomi, and (to some extent) Lady Gaga, Rob Zombie’s art is so much more than just his music. His stage presence is the baseline that all metal performers should aspire to and his videos (music and otherwise–I’m looking at you, House of 1000 Corpses) are so much more than a static album cover with flashing lyrics. He’s not my favorite musician, but he’s easily the person I’m most excited to see perform.
RiYL: White Zombie (duh), Marilyn Manson, King Diamond (for the stage presence)
HONORABLE MENTION – Children of Bodom
Maybe they’ll play this…